Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald (Ret.)

2020 American Inns of Court Bankruptcy Inn Alliance Distinguished Service Award

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA–Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald (Ret.) has been selected to receive the prestigious 2020 American Inns of Court Bankruptcy Inn Alliance Distinguished Service Award. For more than 25 years, Fitzgerald served as a judge in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and served as chief judge from 2000 to 2004. She retired from the bench in 2013 and entered private practice.

“Judge Fitzgerald is a leader on a national level in the bankruptcy and insolvency field,” says Alexis A. Leventhal, Esquire, of Reed Smith LLP, who nominated Fitzgerald for the award. “Judge Fitzgerald has devoted her career to understanding the bankruptcy process and imparting this knowledge on the countless parties, practitioners, and students who have had the pleasure to sit in her courtroom or classroom.”

Appointed as a bankruptcy judge in 1987, Fitzgerald oversaw the bankruptcies of thousands of individuals and the reorganizations of hundreds of businesses. In addition to becoming an expert in bankruptcy law in general, she also became a preeminent authority on asbestos bankruptcy and wrote some of the most authoritative opinions in this area. During her tenure, she also sat by designation in the District of Delaware, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the District Court of the Virgin Islands.

Now a shareholder of Tucker Arensberg PC, Fitzgerald serves as an expert witness and advisor and has become a sought-after mediator and arbitrator of complex commercial matters.

Named in her honor, the Judith K. Fitzgerald Western Pennsylvania Bankruptcy American Inn of Court offers a structured mentorship program for bankruptcy practitioners. It also offers a financial literacy program for local high school students. Fitzgerald is also a founding member and honorary master of the American Inns of Court’s Honorable Amy Reynolds Hay Chapter.

Since 2015, Fitzgerald has also taught bankruptcy law as a professor of practice at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. A fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy and a former president of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, Fitzgerald is also an active member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, American Law Institute, Commercial Law League of America, and International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation.

Fitzgerald earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1970. She earned her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1973. Before becoming a judge, Fitzgerald was an assistant U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh.